The Justice Department recently approved the merger between major pharmacy chain CVS Health and Aetna, a major health insurer. As part of the merger approval, Aetna has notified the public that it will sell all of its standalone Medicare Part D drug plans to prevent CVS Health/Aetna from having too much control of the market.
Aetna has agreed to do so and has announced that it will sell its plans to Wellcare Healthcare Plans, which is another well-known Part D provider.
You can read Aetna’s public announcement here.
Standalone Part D Drug Plans from Aetna
Per Aetna’s announcement, you can read that this merger will not affect Aetna Part D drug plans for 2019. If you are enrolled in an Aetna Part D drug plan that you like and want to keep it for next year, you can. Aetna stated in its announcement that it will continue to administer and provide service for these plans throughout 2019. This provides continuity for all the beneficiaries that are enrolled in these plans.
Also, if our team is assisting you in selecting a 2019 drug plan and an Aetna Part D drug plan is the most cost effective, we will still recommend that plan. Medicare beneficiaries get to change their drug plan once per year during the Annual Election Period, so you can choose an Aetna drug plan this year. If you want us to re-evaluate that next fall to decide if that plan is still good for you for 2020 then you can reach out to us.
If you are still enrolled in the plan when the drug plan changes to Wellcare are made, you will have the same opportunity to use that year’s Annual Election Period to change the Part D drug plan at that time. You’ll come back to us just like you have every year for your Part D analysis. We’ll help you decide if the 2020 plan offering is a good fit for you or if another carrier will be more cost effective. This merger will not affect the Boomer Benefits annual Part D analysis for our clients in any way.
Also, we should mention that CVS is already the pharmacy benefits manager for Aetna policyholders. It is hoped that the merger of these two powerful forces could result in lower healthcare costs and improved quality of care in the future.
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans from Aetna
Aetna’s announcement stated that the merger will also not affect Aetna’s Medicare Advantage plans, which are private health insurance plans that beneficiaries can enroll in instead of Original Medicare. These plans are not being sold to Wellcare or any other healthcare plan.
Likewise, Aetna’s Medicare Supplement business will also not be impacted by this merger transaction.
If you have questions about the Aetna/CVS merger and whether it will affect you, contact our Client Service Team at 817-249-8600.